Life Lessons: Summer picnic do's and don't's

Posted: 5:00 AM EDT Jun 24, 2013

Every year a quarter of Americans will get food poisoning at least once.

Avoid getting sick this summer with some simple tips.

We share which party food is safe to enjoy and which can leave you feeling ill.

Picnics, beach outings, and outdoor barbeques - all great summertime activities, but food lying out in the heat can spell trouble.

"It doesn't take very much to get you sick," says Pamela Legowski.

When given the choice of a hamburger or hotdog, go with the hotdog. They are precooked, lowering the risk of food poisoning.

Also don't snub dishes with mayo in them. The acidity of mayonnaise actually kills certain germs like E. coli and salmonella.

Dips made with tomatoes, vinegar, or citrus also have high acidity, making them a great choice as well.

Lastly, dessert.

Fruit pies are a safe bet, but anything with custard or cream can be risky if it has been at room temperature for more than two hours.

Although cheese can begin to sweat in the heat, it's fine to eat at room temperature even if the cheese has been lying out for a while.

Just make sure the cheese wasn't made with raw milk, or else it could be open to bacteria growth.

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